Thursday, November 24, 2005

Bullpen

Happy Thanksgiving and all that jazz. Yes, I'm posting on a national holiday, on a day I'm guaranteed single digit hits. But, since I work on Friday (for an hour or two) and don't normally post on the weekend, I want to get a few things off my chest.

Okay, a few things means one thing, and that is the current bullpen situation. Everyone is getting their panties in a bunch because of the Cubs signing Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry, two guys on the Yankees radar. Combined with "pussy ass bitch" (pardon my french) B.J. Ryan and the unlikelihood of acquiring Kyle Farnsworth, everyone seems to think that the bullpen could be the tragic flaw of the 2006 Yankees.

As I said the other day, I think that Jose Veras was a great signing, considering his numbers in the defensive independent department. In the same light, the Yankees have a few farm hands in the same position.

Matt Desalvo: 149 IP, 9.12 K/9, 4.05 BB/9, 0.48 HR/9
Ben Julianel: 87.2 IP, 10.88 K/9, 5.13 BB/9, 0.72 HR/9
Justin Pope: 77 IP, 6.43 K/9, 2.34 BB/9, 0.23 HR/9
Colter Bean: 10.3 K/9, 4.90 BB/9, 0.63 HR/9
J. Brent Cox: 27.2 IP, 8.78 K/9, 1.63 BB/9, 0.33 HR/9
Matt Smith: 82.2 IP, 10.04 K/9, 3.93 BB/9, 0.54 GR/9

Okay, so they're not flawless. But certainly this crop of relievers can do better than the likes of Buddy Groom, Paul Quantrill, and Mike Stanton, who so notoriously tainted the Yankees bullpen for the first few months of 2005.

And I'm not saying that all of these guys are going to be stars in the Major Leagues. I'm just saying that the Yankees have enough relief pitching prospects to make due for 2006 without any overbearing disasters. Call up Matt Smith and Colter Bean to start the year, for instance, and give them enough innings to gain confidence. Pope, Desalvo, and Julianel could provide a formidable bullpen at Columbus (read: the reserves), while James Brent Cox could be the second coming of Huston Street.

Despite my derision of this year's crop of free agent bullpen relief (and how the Cubs totally misappropriated funds), I still think that Gordon and Farnsworth provide worthy options for the setup role. While I want to see these farm hands test their mettle in the Major Leagues, it is also a weight off my mind to know that Mo has somoene else in the bullpen for support who has a track record.

In my opinion, bullpen help is much too volatile to throw tons of guaranteed cash at, except in rare instances like Mo, Billy Wagner, Trevor Hoffman, and the like. Though, there aren't many guys quite like them...